As an introvert, I have my share of misunderstandings with people. They misunderstand something I've said or done, or more often, something I've NOT said or done to be intentionally mean or spiteful, when really I was just being my shy self. It is hard to get along in this world of hidden meanings, body language, eye contact, etc. without the occasional offense here and there. (My mom, the quintesential extrovert, seemed to never have this problem.)
Eli seems to be an extrovert. He loves people. He, like his grandma, has never met a stranger. But today he experienced his first rejection, or "misunderstanding" and I wanted to cry from the unfairness of it all.
We were at the playground, and Eli spotted a little girl that he took a liking to. He walked right up to the girl and said, "racecar!" which is his icebreaker, his go-to line. I guess he thinks everyone loves racecars as much as he does. The girl just looked at him funny.
He repeated "racecar!", getting closer and closer each time he said it, maybe thinking the girl hadn't heard him. Finally the girl ran away.
My son, who never wants to leave the playground, who loves to play until he's forced to leave, walked by me to the parking lot and dejectedly said "home". My heart fell to pieces. He kept walking and said "car", trying to find our car.
I convinced him to stay, and reminded him of all his friends who he could play with who were there. I think he got over it quickly, but I didn't. It wasn't the first time he had tried to make a new friend and been rejected. But it was the first time that I know of that HE knew he had been rejected, and that he had his feelings hurt.
It was the first time of many in his life when he will be rejected, misunderstood, ignored, and have hurt feelings. This is life. I knew it would happen. But seeing the first time, and the loss of innocence that goes along with it, was almost too much for me to bear. Eli learned today that he can't just be himself and expect everyone to instantly like him. I wish it wasn't so.